In an effort to rebuild war-torn Marawi, everyone must make it their business to help so that our brothers may have a better quality of life and resume their normal activities. Months after the declaration of martial law and its eventual extension has taken its toll on the health, education and livelihood of the Maranaos.
One group determined to make a difference in raising awareness of the magnitude of problems in Marawi is YPEACE which stands for Young Professionals and Educators of Asia concern to Culture and Environment, Inc. It is a Mindanao-based, non-government organization founded in 2014 by Mr. Nasrael D. Tayuan in Sultan Kudarat. The organization aims to abolish discrimination between Filipino Christians and Muslims. Likewise, it aims to halt discrimination in the professional arena.
This time YPEACE, Inc. provides a more direct response to the Marawi dilemma by inviting everyone to join the “YPEACE RUN FOR A CAUSE” TAKBO: HAKBANG MARAWI 2018” to be conducted this 11th March 2018 (Sunday) at Camp Aguinaldo in QC.
The proceeds of this event will be used in funding the rehabilitation of Marawi City and the education of the orphan of fallen Marawi soldiers. Future projects consists of conducting medical missions in Quezon City and in other remote areas and the launching of YPEACE, Inc. Luzon & NCR Chapter (Young Professionals & Educators of Asia concern to Culture & Environment, Inc.) in February 2018.
I am compelled to write about Camp Aguinaldo again, to try to override what I wrote about a temporary ban on running at about this time last year. As one does not easily give up on something you love (and by golly, I love the camp!), running and related sports are back to normal…in fact, some roads have been opened to the general vehicular public as access roads to EDSA, Katipunan and Marikina, subject to the conditions on securing a car pass into the camp. This greater access makes it possible for more people to get back into the fitness and training modes, and yet I have this nagging feeling that a lot others have not yet experienced this running haven situated North of Manila.
Claiming no expertise in this except the the right of passage of years running, holding races and getting to understand and memorize every nook and cranny of this place fondly called “agi” (short for Aguinaldo) is where my passion for life thrives. If you are ever curious what attracts people like me and those who dare step on the sacred grounds where dignitaries have held inaugurals and ceremonies, get intimate with the camp in this 101.
Camp (General Emilio) Aguinaldois a highly-secured installation being the military headquarters (GHQ or general headquarters for those in the know) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Entry into the camp, even on a personal basis, is a privilege and not a basic right as you would experience playing in the grounds of Rizal Park (Luneta). As a key government facility, the hassle of work and business dominates weekdays more than your need for a running haven – but “agi” (I don’t really know whoever started calling the camp this way) is also home to officers, soldiers and their familis who are “domicile-camped” to ensure the nation’s security day in and out.
Hence the first thing you bring into the camp is called COURTESY. If you are coming in as a pedestrian (and this includes you and your bike!), your valid ID is the first sign that you respect the camp. If you are entering by car, DIM your lights if needed and ROLL down the driver window enough for the guards to see your head and face. Do this automatically so it becomes more a habit than compliance. I drive up the camp at least once a day and I have a way of unnerving the guards to give me back a smile as I greet them good morning/afternoon. I think the gatekeepers respect you back by sometimes managing a snappy salute.
Courtesy is also what you need in cruising along the roads inside the camp; it’s a behavior that permeates in a military environment particularly where soldiers interface with civilians. Signages also say them all – “Slow Down for Bikers and Joggers” or “Speed Limit 30kph” (for vehicles). Military Police (MP) uses radar speed guns and can apprehend and/or fine camp violators,including illegal parkers.
Since sports and recreation are your official business at entering the camp, park only at the following designated parking areas:
Parade Grounds/ Grandstand area – This is nearest from Gate 1 and very secure. There are times, though, that the PG gates will be closed to the general public, to give way to special AFP events.
AFP COC (Commissioned Officers Club) – The clubhouse parking practically as near to Gate 1 as the Parade Grounds, but slots are limited and may also be off-limits at times due to military or private functions .
St Ignatius Chapel – This is my favorite parking hangout because I like starting my workout with a short prayer of thanksgiving. In addition, the restrooms are decently clean (don’t look for immaculately spotless) and unless there is Simbang Gabi (series of early morning Catholic masses during Christmas season) it’s not hard to compete on parking slots with church-goers.
LogCom (Logistics Command) (Golf) Driving Range – Most bikers frequent the ample parking space here, as it is nearest to the infamous rolling Daza hills. This is also less than 500m away from Gate 6.
Based on current experience, there are 3 gates to enter the camp, if you are on foot or have no carpass (valid YELLOW sticker):
Gate 1 (along Boni Serrano, fronting 15th Avenue, Murphy QC) – This gate is open 24hours but gate guardians become logically more inquisitive if you are coming in for a workout after 7PM and before 5AM. The main roads have been more lit lately thus encouraging early morning or night race simulation.
Gate 3 (along EDSA, proximal to the Camp Aguinaldo Golf Club/CAGC) – This gate is open only for stickered vehicles, only up to 9PM daily.
Gate 6 (along Boni Serrano, before 20th Avenue from Katipunan Avenue) – This gate takes in outsiders but of late, there have been days when gate has not been opened at all. Another current limitation is that this gate goes on a RIGHT TURN towards Katipunan and White Plains only.
A usual “route” of 7KM can give you an athlete’s high because of a variety of terrains on almost 100% more-forgiving asphalted roads. Daza road alone can offer you long and winding or short and steep hills, depending on what on the workout-menu for the day.
The entire camp is a plush greenery of big pollutant-absorbing mango and santol trees that certainly complement the combed greens of the in-house golf course. It also helps that there are less vehicles plying these routes, hence one can practicing good breathing technique while doing workouts.
Seldom do visitors like us stay long enough to seek for concessionaires, but if you are not in a mad-rush, there are places worth breaking the routine for:
Soldiers Mall – The row of carinderias serve typical “silog”-varieties but only in these eateries does one experience trying kambing (goat-dishes) even for breakfast.
Hole No 14 Canteen, entrance near AFPSLAI/Gate 2 – Only this canteen seem accessible to public, compared to the others which are attached to the different holes of the golf course. Cheap, staple runners foods like saging saba and hard-boiled eggs have been perennially at P10. but you might also catch chicken arroz caldo or dinuguan-puto for P30 per serving. And yes, you can buy some bottled water or energy drinks, if the food was just a furlough to a long workout or session.
The CAGC Clubhouse restaurant (Gate 3) opens for breakfast but you can also treat the entire team with garlic chicken and pancit canton. Now that’s refueling in style!
Some runners and bikers also end the workout with silog breakfast or sisig-beer combo, at the logcom driving range canteen.
Sharing the road for safety
Bikers go with the vehicular traffic flow and this is enforced by the Military Police who also prioritize runners and bikers crossing intersections and the like. Runners, however, are not mandated to use any direction. By force of habit, I always run against the flow as this helps me anticipate road conflicts. Some, including the different military groups running almost daily in the camp, usually run WITH the flow of traffic and will tend to occupy the entire lane. If you like the smell of sweat, the sound of feet-pounding on the pavement and military cadence, you may want to join these groups…just make sure you can keep up with the pace set by the cadence master.
Even if the entire camp is runner-and biker friendly, keep to the gutter-side of the roads, especially along the narrow Daza roads. While motorists are patient on slow runners who may have the tendency to hug the middle of the road, bikers in groups practicing sprint will skim you off the road if needed.
Flag-raising and flag ceremony. On dry weather, from Tuesdays to Sundays, a bugler calls the attention of everyone (runner, biker, pedestrian, motorist) in the vicinity of the Parade Grounds to halt and pay respect to the flag-raising in a 30-second bugle. Mondays are reserved for the full ceremony at 7:30AM, hence it would be prudent to exit the camp earlier or risk the inconvenience of not being able to get out when the long ceremonies commence. In the past, I used the Monday flag ceremony period (which is a good 15-20 minutes) to do hills-work along Daza which is much too to get affected by the flag-raising activities.
Don’t leave special water bottles and personal stuff on top of your car, while on the run or ride. While the camp has a good reputation against bukas-kotse, I have lost a bottle or two, presumably, to strangers who may think it didn’t matter (you can take the bottle, but not the cold water in it, please!)
What the future holds for Camp “Agui”
I must admit that I went ballistic once, when running and biking was banned inside the camp. It is but stark reality that the use of the camp as our playground and recreation is always subject to its primary purpose of being a military facility. That is why I savor each time I am given the privilege to use these grounds and treat everyone crossing my path with dignity and cheerfulness. Over the years, I have gained neighbors and confidants in both civilian and uniformed men and this gives me an assurance that I can still count more years of my life running in this special place, running with my heart!
You can ignore her, tease her, bypass or try to stop her — but GIRLS, those strong determined type, will always run your life. We used to be called the weaker sex but now we’ve evolved and compensated in so many more ways that the only thing weak about us is still an inhibition towards instant leadership; that, in ways we cannot always understand, is a role that is offered to men first, like a glove.
In a paternalistic world, competing as women is always a backstory of trying times and failure..and that whatever success achieved is always hard-earned and forever-cherished. Remember how these women inspired and motivated us to brave our passion? (http://www.viralnova.com/important-women/)
Oprah Winfrey‘s rag-to-riches to become the first African-American woman billionaire embodies the American Dream and encompasses the Woman of the World ideal.
In 1967, when women were not into sports, Katherine Switzer became the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, even if the (male) race organizers tried to stop her mid-race.
And who could forget Amelia Earhart as the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean in 1928. She attempted a circumnavigational flight of the globe in 1937, but mysteriously disappeared.
Charo Santos-Concio is an accomplished Filipina media executive, host, occasional actress, television and film producer.
Lea Salonga does everything from acting, coaching and judging on TV, waxing records, to doing movies and plays nowadays. But eternally note-worthy was her phenomenal award-winning role as Kim in the worldwide famous Miss Saigon.
Ani De Leon-Brown is the most down-to-earth female coach-triathlete in the planet. Marriage, family and motherhood have only paved the way for this podiumer to achieve more and help even others better.
A few years ago, Mish Maravilla was a head-turner in races for her beauty and performance. But she made a choice to prioritize family so everything else took a backseat, except being an ambassador-advocate of breastfeeding, after she gave birth to Alessandra Michelle almost two years ago.
Are you ready to have FUN: Run the World GIRLS 11.20.16
March is International Women’s Month but here’s the final salvo this year, at celebrating womanity in the most fun way! Let’s RUN THE WORLD GIRLS! on November 20, 2016 at Camp Aguinaldo QC.
Empowered and highly inspired female runners take a shot at wearing a tutu on as they navigate a 7.5KM ot 15KM course.
Unique also to this race as it is to most women, is our leaning towards a buddy or a bestfriend in life, hence RTWG offers a 15KM Buddy category.
Highlight of this event, on top of a girl-competitive race, is a RACE EXPO of best-loved products and services and FREEBIES – to give the WOMAN of the house this day to unwind and have a much-deserved treat!
Registration is on-going:
1. IN STORE REGISTRATION: During Mall Hours
Garmin SM Megamall
2nd Floor Atrium
In front of La Lola
So the rumors and quips are all true. You can’t run or bike (or swim?) at Camp Aguinaldo anymore. The Military Police (MP) have been making the rounds of the grounds, making sure any remnant of ‘public’ runners and bikers are all weeded out. It seems a bit petty having MPs do this deliberately, as if we were security risks. Why, Camp Aguinaldo? We may have run and rode your rolling hills and serene flats, for free for years, but we loved you back as much. We obeyed camp and traffic rules, we greeted and laughed with your soldiers, we stood gallantly with our right hand on chest during flag ceremony. We only stayed for as long as our trainings required, careful to understand that the day-to-day camp business always comes first. That’s also the reason why we never questioned getting booted out of the Parade Grounds during the inaugurations, or worse, not getting access into the camp on red alert mode.
But to ban us all at the camp is a bit condescending, if not cruel. Especially since you now exclusively allow only soldiers and their dependents to run or bike. It’s almost like telling us that the camp is NOT for civilians (read: runners, bikers) but I beg to disagree, being a diligent taxpayer for 32 years, have I not a right to enter a government facility as a law-abiding citizen? How wrong could all the previous Chiefs of Staff have been that they have not seen runners and bikers as a security problem to deal with for so many years? What, pray tell, do we now do with all the signs in abundance at the camp asking motorists to go slow and give way to runners and bikers?
One MP claimed that the reason for this ban was that the camp is not a place for sports. I almost fell off my feet when he said this. If what he said would be followed to the hilt, they would need to close down the entire Camp Aguinaldo Golf Course, but of course, the generals who play there on a regular basis will not have this. After all, how much income goes into the camp from the golf course fees alone?
Let me stretch this argument one notch further. People come and go at the camp, NOT just for military reasons or issues. There’s an Officers Club that makes money from function rooms, banquets, shows in the amphitheater, even catering and water delivery. In other words, why isolate the runners and the bikers as security risks when there are far more people entering the camp for a myriad of reasons?
This is definitely a losing battle to begin with, that’s why I preferred not to shut up. It’s funny that I overheard someone in the camp say, “Sir, senya na ho, hintayin na lang natin pag nagkaroon ng bagong Chief of Staff; they come and go naman.” Of course. Soldiers who follow instructions don’t need to understand or question.
As a consolation, we have been told to run ONLY at the Parade Grounds (the 600m square track beside the Grandstand). Thank you, but no thank you. Try to fit in more than 10 runners/joggers/walkers at any given time and you have chaos and people tripping over people.
And so I run somewhere else. I cannot be stopped. It’s just a pity why Camp Aguinaldo would close its doors on people who thought so highly of it.
ADDENDUM (May 5, 2016):
I apologize that it took awhile to do this update; it took more than three months, in fact, to communicate this to people who have followed the original post in early February 2016.
To those who knew me personally, I had formal access to the Camp via 2016 CarPass and I entered the premises on a daily basis to walk my dog Dakin, avoid the Boni Serrano congestion to EDSA and get some stuff at the Soldier’s Mall. I did these things with steely consistency, even if I could not run and just opted to obey the “rule”. Many times, I interviewed people who willfully violate the ban, that sometimes I wished I had the tenacity to do the same.
Shortly after the Camp played host to the EDSA Revolution Experiential Museum, more and more people started running and biking, at odd hours…Although that specific part of Crame Avenue where the Chief of Staff’s mansion stood now was almost permanently closed to vehicular traffic, even the Military Police stopped rounding off runners and bikers and simply stationed themselves at the Grandstand area.
Two months ago, I started running in the Camp again. It felt like coming home, especially when the peak of summer set in and the ripened indian mangoes started falling off the trees.
I stepped up my courtesy a notch by greeting every soldier as I run by. There are still just a handful of us, which means that the USUAL aguinaldo crowd have found other running playgrounds. But like everyone else who has started to enjoy the camp facilities once more, we hope and pray that the privilege of utilising this running/biking haven will not be taken away from us again.